Home > Gehenna, Universalism > History of the universalism controversy in New England part 2 of 2

History of the universalism controversy in New England part 2 of 2

April 4, 2011

The following is the second of a two part account of the controversy about Universalism in New England in the early nineteenth century, written by Frank H. Foster.

Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 46

Xenia Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary of the United Presbyterian Church of North America, Evangelical Theological College (Dallas, Tex.), Dallas Theological Seminary and Graduate School of Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary

Dallas Theological Seminary, 1889. pp. 95-123.




After the arrival of Mr. Murray some years passed away before the New England divines felt their position attacked by the Universalists with sufficient vigor to call for a special reply. The Revolutionary War long engrossed the strength and attention of the ministry, and little of either could be given to theology; but when its echoes had died away, the activity of the Universalists began to demand notice. At the same time the secession of King’s Chapel from the Episcopal Church gave to the Unitarian movement form and substance. The orthodox divines began, therefore, publicly to defend their faith and their opponents to reply, so that a number of books and pamphlets appeared on either side of the controversy from 1785 to 1805. The leading Universalist writings have already passed under our review. [1] We now attend to the New England writers.


John Smalley, of Berlin, Conn., in a sermon preached by request at Wallingford [2] struck the key-note of this stage of the reply. With reference to the idea derived by Relly from Old School theories and expressed in his “union,” that salvation is a matter of necessity, or put by others in the more sober form, that it is a matter of justice, Smalley proposes to show that “eternal salvation is on no account a matter of just debt,” and hence a fortiori no mechanical necessity. After some preliminary statements in explanation of the meaning of justification, he takes up the redemption wrought for us by Christ for the purpose of showing how it is consistent with free grace in justification. He proceeds to present a new theory of the atonement, which has since been called the New England theory, and which, deriving its leading idea from Hugo Grotius, teaches that God, in exacting punishment for sins, did not act as the offended party, but as a Ruler, and that consequently, the atonement of Christ was not the payment of a debt, but “an astonishing expedient of wisdom and goodness that we transgressors might be saved and yet God be just and his righteous law suffer no dishonor “–a penal example making forgiveness consistent with the authority of the government, but in no way establishing a right upon the sinner’s part to forgiveness. [3] The great argument of Rellyanism was thus refuted. Smalley had stated it thus: “God is obliged in justice to save men as far as the merit of Christ extends: but the merit of Christ is sufficient for the salvation of all men; therefore God is obliged in justice to save all men.” [4] The new theory removed the major premise of this syllogism.

Universalism was thus the occasion of the introduction into the world of the New England theory of the atonement. [5] In fact, the New England divines could make no other reply. The position that the merit of Christ was sufficient for the salvation of all men, or that he died for all, seemed too scriptural to be denied, and indeed, never had been except in extreme schools of Calvinism. [6] Upon the old theories of the atonement, Smalley’s predecessors in New England had sometimes acknowledged the validity of the idea that the sinner could claim salvation, or that it was a matter of justice, as he proves by quotations from Edwards and Hooker. [7] But these two positions necessitated the scheme of Relly and Murray. The only way of avoiding the conclusion was to acknowledge the invalidity of the premise; and hence it was that all the next following New England divines employed the new theory of the atonement as the great argument against their Universalist opponents.

Stephen West’s treatise on the atonement [8] was written with the view of meeting both of the existing defections from orthodox divinity, Unitarianism and Universalism. [9] The governmental theory is presented not only with great fulness of treatment, but with great profundity of thought, exhibiting in a manner not since surpassed, the relations of the atonement to the character and glory of God, to the estimate which his creatures must put upon him, and to that moral government which he has established over them. The application of the theory to the question of Universalism is essentially the same as Smalley’s. But the greater space afforded by the form of publication which has been adopted, permits West to go more into particulars. The atonement, he says, is not sufficient in such a sense as to supersede all use of punishment in the divine government. Temporary evils are inflicted and undoubtedly answer valuable ends in the government of God. We have, then, no sufficient authority for denying that they may be always necessary. [10] But the sufficiency of the atonement consists in making such a manifestation of the divine displeasure against the wickedness of men as is enough to convince every candid spectator of the righteousness of God, and to maintain his government. Hence a foundation is here laid sufficiently broad for the invitations of the gospel, but it constitutes no ground for demanding salvation as a matter of justice.

Both of the writers just considered had had in view the Universalism of Murray alone. The year which saw the appearance of Huntington’s “Calvinism Improved,” furnished a reply to it by Nathan Strong of Hartford, which was in many respects the most vigorous and successful book yet published upon the theme. [11] While he mentions no individual writers, and names only the posthumous volume which he is refuting, it is evident from the course of his discussion that Strong intended in this work to answer all the forms of Universalism which had appeared up to his time. He begins with the exegetical argument upon which the New England divines always rested their case. He cites the Lord’s prayer for his disciples in John xvii., which speaks of men as divided into two classes, of which one is never to be in the same place with Christ, nor see his glory, but of course must be left to suffer the wages of sin, and be separated from the holy presence of God.12 Luke xiii. 2330; Matt. vii. 21-23, the parable of the tares, of the wedding garment, the eschatological discourses in Matthew, the story of Dives and Lazarus, the statement as to the unpardonable sin, the passage on the spirits in prison, multitudes of passages from the Epistles of Paul, whom Dr. Chauncy had particularly quoted, [13] including Rom. vi. 21, 23; 2 Cor. v. 10, 11; 2Thess. i. 6-10, were among the passages discussed and marshalled at the close in pages of compressed and vivid summary. [14] Though he would regard it immaterial to the defence of the doctrine of eternal punishment if the argument which such writers as Winchester derived from the words “forever,” “everlasting,” etc., were conceded, he yet thinks it worth while to give some attention to these words. He alludes to the well-known orthodoxy of the Greek Fathers, and suggests the absurdity of the supposition that “half-a-dozen moderns who call themselves learned in the ancient languages should be better judges of the power and meaning of words in these languages than the learned who spake them from infancy and were the very persons who fixed their meaning;” [15] and then, following the lead of Dr. Edwards, enters upon a more accurate discussion, incidentally showing his own freedom from pedantry by bringing out the fact that the argument is the same whether you consider the English or the Greek words. [16] He summons one Universalist to the help against others by quoting the passages in which Huntington had declared that [aionios] meant everlasting, and that the Scriptures taught eternal punishment. [17] And thus he passes over the great outlines of the exegetical argument in a manner at once vigorous and fresh.

But however necessary such investigations for the establishment of the truth, Strong, like Edwards, recognized that the answer to Universalism must be derived from the fundamental principles of Christian theology, since it is not exegesis but dogmatic presupposition that makes Universalists. Chauncy and Winchester, particularly, had founded their doctrine upon the benevolence of God. In passing to consider ”sundry popular objections against the doctrine of eternal misery,” Strong begins with this objection. The reply is the same as that given by Dr. Edwards,–the application of the theory of virtue to the subject. [18] The treatment of this topic is original and suggestive, but does not differ essentially from Edwards. It may be admired for its copiousness, for Strong pursues the objection into all its ramifications. He is ready with a cogent reply, whether it be said that God has power enough to make all men happy, or cannot in equity make some miserable and others happy, or is not good to create creatures whom he knows beforehand will be miserable, or exercises an odious partiality in saving some and destroying others, or has given too general an invitation to confer a limited salvation, or fails to employ all the resources provided in the atonement if any are lost, or could obtain every end of punishment in some other way, or should prefer annihilation to endless torment, or that there is no reason to think that the existence of sin and misery will increase the public good.

In that part of his work in which he replies particularly to Huntington and other Rellyans, Strong recognizes with Smalley that the true answer is a more correct view of the atonement. The salvation of men is not, in any proper sense, purchased by the death of Christ. [19] Neither is there any transfer of the moral turpitude of men to Christ. [20] Christ stands in the place of sinners in that he hath “made a display of certain moral truths… . which the eternal misery of those who are forgiven was necessary for displaying; so that their misery is not now necessary for the good government of the universe;” [21] and hence, while this arrangement provides for the forgiveness of sinners, it does not make it a matter of necessity. [22] He condenses the substance of his entire reply into the one sentence: “Huntington’s notion of the atonement and a deficient idea of the nature of holiness were the two principal things which led him into his scheme.” [23]

The same great characteristics distinguish the replies made by all the other New England divines to this form of Universalism. The Scriptures teach eternal punishment, and correct ideas of the benevolence of God and of the atonement of Christ destroy all the Universalist arguments. It is therefore unnecessary to linger upon the different writers, however original or individual their forms of presenting their arguments may be. Thus, for example, Josiah Spaulding published a book in 1805, under the title “Universalism confounds and destroys itself,” [24] in which it was his main purpose to exhibit the inevitable logical inconsistencies of the systems of Relly, Winchester, and their associates; but after all his fencing is over, and he comes down to the ultimate and decisive answer to his opponents, it is the theory of the atonement. [25] So the argument of Emmons is first of all scriptural, [26] but correct views as to God’s benevolence and the atonement are presented with all his well-known force and directness.

The refutation of a theological error compels its opponent, however, to descend into details. He must furnish the great decisive considerations against it, but he must also show how these apply to the individual arguments which have been influential with different minds, and must chase the heresy out of all its lurking places. The New England divines attempted to do this part of their work, and we may profitably notice how they met some of the more characteristic arguments which we have already sketched. Relly’s notion of “union” was one of these. Strong first states it in this form: “Was not God the Son united to human nature; does not human nature include all mankind; and may not all to whom Christ was united expect salvation?” [27] He then calls attention to the fact that Christ was not united to human nature, which is a mere abstraction, but to the particular man Christ Jesus. “On the supposition that God the Son was united to human nature. .. . the following absurd consequences would arise. That the God-man Saviour was a real sinner, and suffered for his own sins. That all men are a part of the mediator, so that every sinner is forgiven through an atonement made by himself.. . . Also …. all mankind…. have a name above every name… . that all men are mediators and shall reign as such.” [28] The true union which entitles believers to salvation is a spiritual union, which is of altogether a different character from that advocated by Relly. Spaulding is at considerable pains to show the entire agreement of Relly and Huntington upon the scheme of “union” [29] and urges its internal contradictions. But the most trenchant answer was given by Emmons. He says: “To suppose that mankind were ‘with Christ through all the circumstances of his birth, life, death, resurrection, and glory’ is repugnant to the plainest dictates of common sense. . . .Where is the man who is conscious of being, acting, and suffering with Christ in any of these extraordinary and stupendous scenes? But had there been such a union between Christ and mankind that his obedience was theirs, his sufferings theirs, and his glory theirs; they must all in every age of the world be conscious of having the same motives, the same affections, the same sorrows, the same joys that he had. … It may perhaps be said that this is an unfair representation of the matter, and that by ‘Christ’s being in mankind, and they in him,’ is only intended that according to a divine constitution God considers what Christ did and suffered as being done and suffered by mankind personally. The answer to this is obvious. No divine constitution or appointment whatever could make Christ’s personal obedience and suffering ours. A divine constitution cannot alter the nature of things, nor effect impossibilities Besides all this, it is entirely unscriptural. It is not to be found among the unions which are mentioned in the Bible… Mr. Relly.. . . maintains that Christ was united to sinful men, and partook of their guilt, and on that account deserved to suffer in point of justice. In this view indeed, the sufferings of Christ appear perfectly just, but not in the least meritorious, …. so that, had it been possible for such a union to have existed as Mr. Relly pleads for, it would have defeated the ends of Christ’s death and prevented an atonement for sin.” [30] In this emphatic rejection of realism [31] Emmons is consistent with the whole trend of his theology.

In his direct reply to Huntington, Strong punctures many of his minor absurdities. To his statement that the Bible says that sinners shall be damned to interminable punishment as “plainly as language can express, or any man, or even God himself can speak,” Strong replies: “He still professes to believe that all men will be forever happy;. .. . now to have this a rational belief, it must be built on evidence greater than words can express. … If, therefore, there is not greater evidence of universal salvation than God can speak, it does not seem that the doctrine is yet established. How this greater evidence appears, is among those dark things which men in general do not comprehend.” [32] The distinction made by Relly and Huntington between law and gospel is overturned among other reasons by the fact that the law “hath no objection to the salvation of sinners who are in Christ and united to him by a saving faith.” [33] This is an application of the doctrine of the atonement. “Both law and gospel have the same view of sinners in every possible situation we can conceive them to be.” The entire difference of Huntington’s idea of saving faith from that of the evangelical theologians is clearly shown; [34] and the absurdity of a doctrine of election which implies no distinctions between men, compactly exhibited. [35]

The doctrine of general atonement employed to answer Universalism, suggested to Spaulding the question of the condition of the heathen. Here he followed Bellamy and the younger Edwards in maintaining the sufficiency of their present probation. He says: “The death of Christ has restored all mankind to a state of probation so [that they have] their day of salvation; and that the whole body of heathen have sufficient motives to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. Should they do this, and [act] according to the light they have, the whole pagan world would soon become a paradise. Besides, it is nothing but their pride, prejudice, or sin which prevents the glorious light of the gospel shining among them. These things are generally agreed to by such as embrace revelation. Hence Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world in that important sense which brings every one into a salvable state.” [36]

The view of Emmons was somewhat different. In his sermon upon the “hopeless state of the heathen” [37] he views them entirely in the light of the doctrine of election. The text is Ps. ix. 17, and the proposition to be maintained, “that all the heathen will finally perish.” “God many years ago, gave them up to judicial blindness of heart … When God withheld all special communications from the heathen nations, then they were certainly devoted to ruin. …. When he formed the seed of Abraham into a distinct nation and a visible church, he shut the door against the heathen nations But can we suppose that God would excommunicate all heathen nations from the privileges of the true church, if he did not mean to cast them off forever? …. When God sent Christ into the world to bring life and immortality to light, he directed him to preach to the Jews and not to the Gentiles The apostles . . . durst not go to the Gentiles till they were expressly and divinely directed to go It appears from these passages of Scripture that God intends to convert all the heathen nations in some future period. He has already cast away the Jews in order to convert the Gentiles; and he will call them in again to answer the same purpose. The time is coming when all nations shall be converted. But this great and desirable event is to be brought about by the instrumentality of the gospel … So long as God withholds the gospel from the heathen nations, so long they will remain in a perishing condition, and there can be no hope of their salvation.” [38] He denies the salvation of learned and virtuous heathen and expressly mentions Socrates, Seneca, Plato. Cato, and Cicero. The text: “In every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted of him,” does not refer to them, but to believers in Christ from various nations. Emmons insisted therefore on the necessity of presenting Christ to the heathen. It is the exhibition of Christ that tries the hearts of men and “fixes their future state.” [39] He expressly says: “It is much to be desired that the gospel should be preached to all nations. There is no ground of hope that any heathen will be saved while they remain totally ignorant of the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent. It does not appear from the past dispensations of grace that God ever sends his spirit where he does not send his gospel.” [40]

The New England theology has leaned more and more to the view of Bellamy and Edwards. An anonymous writer in the Spirit of the Pilgrims for 1829, in an article upon the character and prospects of the heathen, takes pains in his opening remarks to dwell upon their complete ability and responsibility to repent. “They possess all the powers requisite to complete accountability; intellect to understand the law; conscience to fulfil obligations; and facilities to perform all which God requires of them. The knowledge of right and wrong from the light of nature is such as creates obligation to love, worship, and obey him; and renders them inexcusable for transgression They are described [in Scripture] also as sinning wilfully … They are represented also as being conscious of accountability and guilt.” But “The heathen do not do as well as they can by the light of nature Instead of doing as well as they can, they do as badly as they can.” [41] The supposition that if any heathen lives according to his light he will be saved, which is the necessary corollary of the principles of New England theology, has with passing years been extended till the hope has been cherished that election may not be confined strictly to gospel lands, but that some among the heathen may now and then be found who have thus turned towards the God they blindly knew, and been forgiven for the sake of the Saviour they have not known at all. But the general conviction that the prospects of the heathen are exceedingly dark, has not been materially altered.


Spaulding opens that part of his work which relates to that scheme of universal salvation which supposes a limited punishment and final restoration, with the following sentences: “My Dear Friend, Had you read Dr. Edwards against Dr. Chauncy, you would have found an answer to Mr. Winchester’s Dialogues, and so have saved yourself the trouble of your last request to me. There appears nothing material in those dialogues on universal restoration but what we find in Dr. Chauncy’s ‘Salvation of all Men.’ An answer to the latter is of course an answer to the former; and Dr. Edwards has given a complete answer, it is thought, to Dr. Chauncy.” [42] In substance he adds himself nothing to the argument. He exhibits a large number of minute contradictions in the Restorationist scheme, which are only illustrations of the greater one that “all men are saved by grace, and in contradiction to this, that the damned suffer all they deserve.” The answer of the other New England writers is substantially the same. Every argument by which they emphasize the freedom of the will, or man’s responsibility, or the sufficiency of the present probation, or the absence of all future probation, or the justice of eternal punishment, or the testimony of the Scriptures, is an argument against Winchester.

It thus occurs that special replies to Winchester are not prominent in New England literature. But there was doubtless another reason of greater practical importance in the fact that Winchester was soon superseded by Ballou, who, publishing his treatise on the atonement in 1805, had in less than ten years secured the adherence of nearly every minister in the denomination. We pass therefore immediately to


It may be said that in a large degree the Universalism of Ballou was a reply to itself. Not many books were written especially against Ballou, and the reason is not far to seek. So long as the Universalist movement was favored by leading men like Chauncy, who in general maintained their reputation for orthodoxy, and their position in the churches, or appeared unexpectedly among obscurer men like Huntington, whose defection was not known till revealed by a posthumous publication, it alarmed the orthodox and earnest men who formulated the New England theology, for the safety of their churches and the truth. But when it became identified with Unitarianism, and that at the moment when the mask was being stripped off the Unitarian movement in 1815 by the publication of the Belsham letters, it was no longer an object of special apprehension. What answered the one movement, answered the other. [43] The churches were coming gradually into the right position as to the Unitarian movement, and they might be safely left to reject a Unitarian Universalism. It is evident from contemporaneous accounts that the vulgarity of many Universalist ministers and of much of the Universalist preaching excited disgust, and assisted in nullifying their influence. [44] Ballou himself receded more and more from reason and common sense, and hence removed more and more all necessity for special efforts against him. In 1817 he “became entirely satisfied that the Scriptures begin and end the history of sin in flesh and blood; and that beyond this mortal existence, the Bible teaches no other sentient state but that which is called by the blessed name of life and immortality.” [45] The doctrine of no future punishment whatever was so manifestly contrary to the Bible as well as to the teachings of former leaders among the Universalists themselves, that it needed no reply [46] until it was presented under a professedly exegetical form. This was soon given to it, but not by Ballou. The honor, if it be such, of supplying this place in the Universalists’ argument, and of presenting their theory with learned apparatus and in a series of volumes, belongs to Walter Balfour.

Balfour’s first work was his “Inquiry” published in 1824. [47] As we learn from the preface of the third edition, [48] the author’s attention was directed in this edition exclusively to the endless duration of future punishment, since he was not then prepared to deny limited future punishment. His object was to investigate the supposition “that a place called Hell in a future state is prepared for the punishment of the wicked.” [49] He says that “all the principal writers on both sides of this question proceed on this ground that there is a place of future punishment and that the name of it is Hell. Winchester, Murray, Chauncy, Huntington, and others all admit that Hell is a place of future punishment. Edwards, Strong, and others who oppose them, had no occasion to prove this, but only to show that it was to be endless in its duration.” The place Balfour occupies in the discussion is thus defined by himself. He comes to the conclusion that there is no place of eternal punishment.

Balfour first takes up the word Sheol. Following the lead of a certain Dr. Campbell, he brings out by various quotations and discussions the fact that Sheol properly signifies the state of the dead, or the place of the departed. Hence, the argument is, it never signifies the place of punishment. Even Ps. ix. 17 (“The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God”) is thus explained. “The psalm in which the words stand is treating of God’s temporal judgments upon the heathen nations.” [50] He continues: ”Surely, no one who has attended to all the above texts in which Sheol occurs, can continue to believe that Sheol here has such a meaning. It is the same hell in which the Saviour’s soul was not left,” etc. In conclusion he affirms that the Old Testament writers and Christians of this day are “hardly agreed in a single idea about hell.” He then takes up the word Hades. The reasoning and conclusion are the same. The account of Dives in Luke is a parable. Whatever Hades is, it shall finally be destroyed. Tartarus, a portion of-Hades, shall share its fate, and hence none of these terms denote the place of endless punishment. In fact, Balfour suggests very strongly that the idea of Tartarus was imported into Christianity by heathen converts from the Greek religions. [51]

To this point the difficulties in Balfour’s way have been comparatively slight. He puts forth greater exertions in overcoming the force of the word Gehenna, but arrives successfully at the same goal. He objects strongly to the transfer of the meaning of the word from “the valley of Hinnom” to hell. The Old Testament, he thinks, makes it an emblem of the “future temporal punishment to the Jews as a nation.” [52] This interpretation he derives from Jer. xix., and vii. 29 to end. With this clue he comes to the New Testament and interprets all such passages as Matt. xxiii. 33 (“Ye generation of vipers, how shall ye escape the damnation of hell?”) of the temporal calamities connected with the fall of Jerusalem. [53] A long and labored distinction between the Greek terms *** and *** led to the conclusion that even if Gehenna should be a place of future punishment, the spirit never enters it, and this discovery prepared the way for his later essays upon the immortality of the soul.

Balfour’s general conclusion to his first inquiry is therefore that there is no word used in the Bible to designate the place of endless future punishment, and hence that there is no such punishment. The work made the greatest possible impression upon the Universalists. They had had hitherto only comparatively uneducated men who had been able to appeal only to the English Bible in substantiation of their position; but here was a scholar who freely handled the original tongues of the Scriptures. The popularity of his writings was so great that Balfour issued in 1826 a second “Inquiry” [54] in which he arrived at the similar result, that there is no really existent devil, and that the opinion that he exists is derived from heathenism. The last one hundred and fifty-four pages of the book are devoted to the discussion of the terms olim (for olam), aion, and aionios. Into the details of this argument we cannot follow him. Enough to say that the argumentation is in principle that of Winchester, that because these words do not always mean strictly everlasting, it can never be successfully maintained that they do in respect to future punishment. Notions derived from the investigation as to Gehenna reappear, and numerous cases of “everlasting punishment” are referred to the destruction of Jerusalem. [55] A substantial summary of his position is made in the following passage: “I conceive that all the everlastings of which the Scriptures speak stand in some shape or other connected with God’s dispensation of love and mercy to man through Jesus Christ. The ages or everlastings began with him, and shall terminate when Christ hath subdued all things, and the last enemy death is destroyed. Hence the state after this does not appear to me to be described in Scripture by the expression ‘everlasting life,’ but by other words and phrases. For example,–the dead are said to put on incorruption or immortality. Mortality is then said to be swallowed up of life. They cannot die any more, but are equal unto the angels, being sons of the resurrection, their inheritance is incorruptible, and fadeth not away, and they are to be forever (pantote) with the Lord.” [56] The last sentence of this extract suggests the final contribution of Balfour to his system, which was made in 1828 in his “Three Essays.” [57] Here he promulgated the doctrine that the souls of men are not immortal, that the spirit returns unto God who gave it, in the sense that it is laid up with Christ in God, unconscious, to be restored to man in the resurrection at the last day, at which time all men shall be immediately admitted without judgment into felicity, from which they shall never depart. [58]

All these gradual discoveries and communications to the public only made the Balfourean system more popular with the Universalists. It spread rapidly, was eagerly read, and learned by heart by multitudes of the people, and filled the air with the clamor of controversy. Doubtless the New England teachers were not idle, and there were many faithful parish sermons like one of Emmons upon “The Plea of Sinners against Endless Punishment.” [59] There are five principles, he says, upon which the Universalists argue in favor of their doctrine. These are: “The universal goodness of God; the universal atonement of Christ; the universal offers of salvation; the universal goodness of mankind; their universal punishment in this life.” The arguments of the first four heads are those with which we have already become familiar. Under the last he intends evidently to meet the form of Universalism before us. He says: “They affirm that there is not a threatening in the Bible respecting any future and eternal punishment of sinners. But all men of plain common sense who have read the Bible and whose understanding has not been darkened by the blindness of the heart and by the sophistry of deceivers, know that God has plainly threatened future and eternal punishment to the finally impenitent and unbelievers.” [60] And thus, with the most summary quotation of certain passages, he dismisses their position. In a sermon there is little room for prolonged discussion, and yet Emmons desired to strike at the root of the exegesis by which Balfour had now attempted to support Universalism. So he declares that the method of the Universalists is wrong. They come to each passage of Scripture which they quote, determined to make it support their own false principles. Single texts should be interpreted in the light of the whole Bible. “No doctrine can be proved or refuted by merely marshalling one class of texts against another without explaining them according to some sound and accepted principle. Texts ought never to be adduced to explain and establish any first principles; but first principles are to be adduced to explain and establish the sense of every text of Scripture.” [61] This sounds like a plea for the most pronounced sort of dogmatic exegesis. But such is not Emmons’s intent. He is complaining of the dogmatic exegesis of the Universalists. What he means is determined by the significance he attaches to the phrase “first principles,” and this he has explained by pointing to those great and fundamental doctrines which constitute the substance of the Christian religion, and which are derived from the Bible itself. He mentions “the true meaning of God’s universal goodness as consisting in universal benevolence and limited complacence;” and of the “true sense of the universal atonement of Christ.” Reason was to have its place, though not the supreme place, in interpretation. He complains of the Universalists that “they never lay down principles and explain them, nor construe Scripture according to the dictates of reason. But those who hold to a limited salvation lay down principles and explain them They do not set one text of Scripture against another, but explain every text agreeably to the great principles which they have established and explained.” [62]

But opposition to Ballou’s and Balfour’s views arose among those Universalists who were still inclined to favor the doctrine of Restoration. Among these, Charles Hudson, pastor of a Universalist church in Westminster, Mass., published a series of Letters addressed to Mr. Ballou [63] in which from an intimate knowledge of the Universalist literature he brought materials to set forth fully the doctrines he wished to refute. As is well known, this disagreement with Ballou ripened into a movement which separated from the Universalist denomination in 1831, and maintained under the name of the “Restorationist Association” a separate existence till 1841. [64] Hudson was a sharp and witty antagonist, and when he turned his weapons against Balfour, the latter could not endure his sarcasm. He summed up the first “Inquiry” very well in the following words: “In order to ascertain whether Mr. B. has succeeded in refuting future or eternal punishment, it is proper to leave all that he has said upon Sheol, Hades, and Tartarus out of the question; for surely, if they do not mean misery at all, as Mr. Ballou contends, they do not have the least bearing in deciding the question whether misery be endless. . . . The only word he allows to signify misery is Gehenna; and wherever it occurs in the New Testament, it is, he says, applied to the Jews, and expresses those judgments, and those only, which fell upon that nation at the destruction of Jerusalem. … So the whole of Mr. Balfour’s labors comes precisely to this:– If the destruction of Jerusalem does not mean endless misery, that doctrine is not taught in the Scriptures! He has written more than four hundred pages to show that there can be no punishment in a future state because Jerusalem was captured in this!” [65] Hudson complains also repeatedly of Balfour’s apparent desire to “pull down and not build up,”–a fundamental and just criticism.

Hudson’s remarks irritated Balfour extremely, as was usually the case, for he did not seem to be able to bear criticism with equanimity, and in some remarks upon Hudson’s Letters which he attached to his “Three Essays,” he indulged in petty personalities. One good argument refuting Hudson’s own theories, is however found here. Punishment arising from “the internal state of the mind” alone, and not from any external application, he says, leaves the abandoned sinner with nothing to fear in the future world. “The more hardened he dies, so much the better for him in the world to which he goes. If he can only contrive to keep himself hardened in hell, what in God’s universe can distress him, upon Mr. Hudson’s system of future punishment?” [66]

Hudson replied in a small book [67] in which among other things he pricked the fallacy of Balfour’s methods of exegesis, but he succeeded in setting up no sufficient method for himself. [68]

Faithful orthodox ministers did not neglect the subject in their parish sermons. Edward R. Tyler, of Middletown, Conn., delivered a series of “Lectures on Future Punishment” to his church, which he afterwards published. [69] Direct reference is made to Balfour’s ideas [70] in the discussion of Gehenna. The book was a faithful and useful discussion of the whole theme. It shows how the ministry of that day overcame the danger from Universalism–by openly combating it in the pulpit.

But now a more formidable antagonist of Universalism appeared upon the scene in the person of Moses Stuart. The success with which Balfour had met among his coreligionists, had induced him to call loudly for a refutation. Stuart had been frequently mentioned as the man who should undertake it, and probably it was in response to direct solicitations that he finally published, first in the Panoplist, and then in a separate form, his book entitled “Exegetical Essays on several Words relating to Future Punishment.” [71] It was not formally a reply to Balfour, and for the sake of avoiding “a polemic attitude” mentioned but one writer of opposing teaching, and him only in a short appendix.

Yet it was Balfour’s works which drew out the treatise, and his first “Inquiry,” and that portion of the second which referred to the words aion, etc., were substantially met.

The work opens with remarks upon the importance of the subject and the impossibility of answering inquiries as to the future state by the light of reason. Ancient philosophy failed even to establish the immortality of the soul. Our appeal must then be to the Bible which must be examined without prepossessions, candidly and impartially. Such an examination Stuart sets himself to make.

The words [aion] and [aionios] are first examined. Their classical use is presented, and then in various classes the cases quoted in which they appear in the New Testament, and the meaning exhibited in each case. The presentation is fair, the summing up convincing, and the conclusion is expressed with force in these words: “Whenever [aion] is employed for the purpose merely of designating future time, as a period of duration, it designates an indefinite, unlimited time in all cases; those of future punishment being for the present excepted.” [72] “In regard to all the cases of [aionios] which have a relation to future time, it is quite plain and certain that they designate an endless period, an unlimited duration” (the cases referring to future punishment being excepted). [73] He examines the Hebrew olam, and the Greek words [aion] and [aionios] in the LXX. with the same result.

With this general preparation he comes to consider those cases, already quoted in the investigation, in which these words are applied to future punishment. He finds these parallel in all philological respects to the cases in which the future blessedness of the righteous is stated, and he sums up his conclusion in the following words: “It does most plainly and indubitably follow that, if the Scriptures have not asserted the endless punishment of the wicked, neither have they asserted the endless happiness of the righteous, nor the endless glory and existence of the Godhead. The one is equally certain with the other. Both are laid in the same balance. They must be tried by the same tests. And if we give up the one, we must, in order to be consistent, give up the other also.” [74] The bearing of this will be seen when we recall that Stuart rested all these truths on revelation alone, since the powers of our reason had never discovered them to heathen nations, nor ever could. He adds further on: “I have long searched with anxious solicitude for a text in the Bible which should even seem to favor the idea of a future probation. I cannot find it.” [75]

This part of the discussion ended, Stuart goes over to the consideration of Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, and Gehenna. The exposition is temperate and fair. He acknowledges all that Balfour says (though not mentioning him by name) in respect to the meaning of Sheol in many passages. He then introduces [76] a discussion of the figurative use of language, which sets forth the fundamental principles upon which such a word is to be interpreted, in any kind of literature. The figurative use of every word representing intangible and invisible objects must be derived from the literal uses by which it was originally restricted to objects accessible to the observation of the senses. Paradise was a pleasure garden literally; but figuratively it is the state of the blessed in the eternal world. Hence the question as to the meaning of Sheol and like words is not to be determined by their literal uses (as Balfour had sought to do) but the question still remains: Are they “ever employed in the figurative or secondary sense in the Old Testament?” [77] The determination of this question, Stuart confesses, “depends perhaps in great measure on the state of knowledge among the Hebrews with regard to future rewards and punishments.” That they were entirely ignorant of such things, the acknowledged belief of the Egyptians as to the future forbids us to suppose. Many texts are evacuated of their meaning on such a supposition. [78] “The sum of the evidence from the Old Testament in regard to Sheol is that the Hebrews did probably in some cases connect with the use of this word the idea of misery subsequent to the death of the body. It seems to me that we can safely believe this; and to aver more than this would be somewhat hazardous, when all the examples of the word are duly considered.” [79] A like discussion of Hades follows. The Hades of Luke xvi. 23, he says, has the significance of Tartarus, the place of future and endless punishment. As to Gehenna, the discussion is shorter, but equally explicit. Of Balfour’s notion that its punishment meant the destruction of Jerusalem, Stuart does not think it worth while to take notice.

This treatise practically closed the controversy on the side of the New England divines. [80] The dogmatic answer to Universalism was already made, and the exegetical answer, which only remained in some little doubt after the appearance of Balfour, was now in. The danger that any large inroads would be made upon Congregational churches was now overcome, [81] and the Unitarian controversy having been brought to an end about the same time (1833), and in a few years more the complications involved in the “Plan of Union” with the Presbyterian Church having been disentangled (1838), the orthodox churches, with greater confidence in their principles and their prospects, pressed forward to the active and aggressive Christian work in which they have ever since been engaged. The discussion of Universalism has not ceased, and papers upon such subjects are constantly appearing in our own day. But Universalism is distinctly recognized as a foreign thing, and the controversy with it settled.

It is a curious illustration of the relentlessness of the logic of facts and of the impotence of the opinions of men to withstand their progress, that Balfour, whose theology and influence, both among the general body of the New England churches and even among his own denomination, had been annihilated by Stuart’s Essays, had not the slightest thought that such a fate had befallen him. He published a ” Reply,” in 1831, which was full of personalities, but contained no substantial addition to the discussion. [82] In the following year he published the third (largely re-written) edition of his “Inquiry.” In the Introduction he uses the following language. After having denominated Professor Stuart’s Essays an attempt to refute the “Inquiry,” he says: “We have too high an opinion of Mr. Stuart’s understanding to think that he considers his essays deserving the name of an answer to the Inquiry. We have never heard of a single intelligent man, orthodox or otherwise, who thinks his essays a reply to it. But we have heard several express a contrary opinion. If the book [viz., the ‘Inquiry’] then is not unanswerable, we may say, it yet remains unanswered…. Without these attacks, I might have gone down to my grave doubting whether I might not after all be mistaken in my views. It would be almost sinful in me now to doubt their correctness, considering the character, talents, and standing of the men, who have tried but failed to point out my error.” [83] And yet in 1840 Thomas Whittemore, who had been a Balfourean, issued his “Plain Guide to Universalism,” –a kind of Universalist Dogmatics–which leaned decidedly towards Restorationism; in 1841 the Universalists as a whole had become so favorable to Restorationism that the Restorationist Association could dissolve; and in 1878 the Universalist ministers of Boston and vicinity, by a vote of thirty-three to two, adopted a statement of belief, which while strongly Unitarian, and so far in accord with Ballou’s theology, was decidedly restorationist, and marked the complete downfall of Balfour’s system. [84]

Ere we turn away from these studies, it may be well, in view of the claims made by various teachers of the present day as to the complete originality of their own speculations, to summarize the theories which from time to time New England divinity has considered and deliberately rejected. It is certainly not wise for the present generation to consider with profound attention as a new and promising speculation what previous thinkers have examined and found to be inconsistent with the principles of sound theology. The references are to volume and page of the Bibliotheca Sacra.

1. The most fundamental error appearing in every form of heretical eschatology is misconception of the benevolence of God. It may look forward to the consummation of all things, and place happiness as the supreme end (xliii. 26; xlv. 693, 682; xlvi. 99); or it may seek to modify existing conditions of probation (xliii. 12); but it always labors under the fundamental defect that it is a priori in the character of its reasoning. With all their explanations of benevolence, and defences of the benevolence of God, the New England divines always insisted sharply upon the principle that what benevolence in fact demanded, was to be settled by an appeal to the facts of the Universe and to Scripture (xliii. 296, 301, 722; xlvi. 98, 117).

2. The realistic error, which makes salvation or grace to be conferred without a special act upon the part of God or man, they found presented in Relly’s “union” (xlv. 670); but the reply embraces every form of realism, more or less emphatic, for it is connected with the most thorough-going denial of the principle of realism in its connection with original sin, imputation, and related doctrines (xlvi. 102, 103; xlv. 678).

3. Errors as to the atonement (xlv. 676; xlvi. 96, 97, 100, 101).

4. Errors as to the ability of man to repent. The necessity of the gospel, or, as it is termed now, of the historic Christ, to repentance, was discussed, and generally rejected (xliii. 21, 716; xlvi. 104); or where accepted (xlvi. 105) it was with reference to God’s sovereign administration of grace, and not to man’s metaphysical ability to repent, and not as constituting any excuse for impenitence (comp. xliii. 717).

5. False theories as to the meaning of the words [aion] and [aionios]: limited duration (xliii. 29; xlv. 686); temporal punishment (xlv. 692; xlvi. 112); “aionian” that is, not used in a temporal sense at all (xlv. 618, 686); “spiritual” (xlv. 118). To all these theories full replies were given.

6. Various interpretations of 1 Peter iii. 18-20 (xliii. 31; xlv. 684). The same interpretation is given by all the New England writers, that the preacher was Noah (xliii. 715).

7. False theories of probation, whether perpetual (xliii. 12, 26; xlv. 682); or extending to the judgment (xliii. 12; comp. xlvi. 118). The answer was always emphatic that probation is confined to this life, and rested entirely upon the statements of the Scriptures (xliii. 712, 714; comp. xlvi. 118).

8. Theories as to the nature, object, and justice of punishment; disciplinary (xliii. 26; xlv. 685; comp. xliii. 12, 287); unjust (xliii. 8, 288, 302; comp. xliii. 18, 20, 293, 719). The great reply to the latter error was always from the nature of virtue.

9. Annihilation (xliii. II, 713).


1. See Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. xlv. pp. 669-686.

2. “A Sermon delivered at Wallingford by particular agreement, with special reference to the Murryan Controversy,” etc. Hartford, 1785. 8vo. pp. 29. It was followed by “A Second Sermon,” etc. 1786. 8vo. pp. 32. Both sermons are reprinted in Park’s volume of “Essays on the Atonement,” p. 45 ff.

3. Sermon, p. 10.

4. Ibid., p. 21.

5. The first three treatises presenting this theory–Edwards’s, Smalley’s, and West’s–were all published within a twelvemonth, in 1785-86, and they all had reference to the Universalist Controversy.

6. The Canons of the Synod of Dort do not deny it. See Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, Vol. iii. p. 562, Acl. vi. “Quod autem multi… .pereunt non fit hoc hostiae Christi in cru.ce oblatse defectu, vel insufficientia, sed, propria ipsorum culpa.”

7. Sermon, pp. 12, 13.

8. “The Scripture Doctrine of Atonement proposed to a careful Examination.” Second edition, Stockbridge, 1809 (first edition, 1785).

9. Ibid., pp. iii-v.

10. Ibid., pp. 135, 136.

11. “The Doctrine of Eternal Misery reconcilable with the Infinite Benevolence of God, and a Truth plainly asserted in the Christian Scriptures.” Hartford, 1796. 8vo. pp. xii. 408.

12. Ibid., p. 20.

13 Strong seeks to reinforce his arguments by referring his readers to Edwards’s Reply to Chauncy, p. 45.

14. Ibid., pp. 81-84.

15. Ibid., p. 91.

15. Ibid., p. 97.

17. Ibid., p. 99.

18. See B1bl1otheca Sacra, Vol. xliii. pp. 296-299. Strong, p. 108 ff.

19. Strong, p. 149.

20. Ibid., p. 154.

21. Ibid., p. 155.

22. “It has been claimed by the friends of the Andover view of continued probation, and by the enemies of the New England theology, that this new view of probation is the logical outcome of the doctrine of general atonement. But that doctrine is the doctrine of benevolence. It is benevolence in a system and directed by a view of the general good. The following passage from Strong cuts up, root and branch, this appeal of the New Theology to the New England theology. He says: “So far as respects the sinner, God had a perfect right to make the provision [of the atonement] or omit making it; and when made, he has a right to extend the benefit of it to whom he pleases; either to one manor to all men, as his wisdom judges best. And the rule by which he will be directed in the extension of these benefits is the general good. If he sees that the extension of it to all men will make the greatest quantity of happiness in the universe, it will be thus extended; if he sees that it will be better to take part and leave part, as we suppose his word informs us, part will be omitted, and in the omission no injustice is done them” (p. 156).

23. Ibid., p. 369.

24. “Universalism confounds and destroys itself; or, Letters to a Friend, in four parts,” etc. By Josiah Spaulding. Northampton, 1805. 8vo. pp. 359.

25. Ibid., p. 234 ff.

26. Works, Ide’s edition, Vol. v. pp. 561 ff., 592 ff.

27. The Doctrine of Eternal Misery reconcilable, etc., p. 160.

28. Ibid., pp. 163, 164.

29. Universalism confounds itself, p. 115.

30. Works, Vol. v. p. 567 ff.

31. The New England divines did not go over from realism into nominalism, as Dr. A. H. Strong supposes (Baptist Quarterly, Jan. 1888, pp. 7-10 ff.). Had they known what modern conceptualism is, they would have probably called themselves conceptualists. But their rejection of realism, whether “medieval,” ancient, or modern, was decided.

32. Op. cit., p. 208 ff.

33. Ibid., p. 217.

34. Ibid., p. 243 ff.

35. Ibid., p. 255 ff.

36. Universalism confounds itself, p. 238.

37. Works, Vol. vi. p. 284 ff.

38. Ibid., pp. 285-290.

39. Ibid., p. 448.

40. Ibid., p. 455.

41. Op. cit., pp. 481,485.

42. UniversaIism confounds itself, p. 123.

43. Ballou, in a sermon entitled, “Commendation and Reproof of Unitarians” (“Select Sermons,” Boston, 1860, p. 321), declared that the Unitarians were Universalists and yet would not confess it. In the Spirit of the Pilgrims for 1830, p. 205, is a review of this sermon, the object of which is to show that Mr. Ballou’s declaration is correct. It was not long after this, perhaps in consequence of it, that the Unitarians came boldly out upon the side of restorationism.

44. See, for example, the testimony of Matthew Hale Smith in his instructive book, “Universalism examined, renounced, and exposed,” Boston, 1844.

45. See Eddy, Vol. ii. p. 265, where a sketch of the progress of Ballou’s opinions may be found.

46. Ballou preached much in different parts of the country, and received transient attention from the local ministry. Of such a character was the amusing episode at West Rutland, when Lemuel Haynes, the minister of the church, replied to Ballou at the close of the latter’s sermon. Dr. Eddy has not quite apprehended the circumstances of the case in his account (vol. ii. p. no). The church was Mr. Haynes’s own. He had been intending to be absent on a pastoral expedition to another part of the parish, but remained to please his people. After the sermon, as he had been urged to speak by Mr. Ballou, who was fond of controversy, like all Universalist ministers of that day, Haynes arose and delivered a discourse upon the first Universalist preacher, from Gen. Hi. 4. It was satirical, and offended Mr. Ballou deeply; but Mr. Haynes intended doubtless to say to his people as forcibly as possible, that he deemed the doctrine of Mr. Ballou hazardous to their souls. As their pastor such was his duty. He knew best how to reach them and counteract the effect of what they had just heard; and the fact that he carried them with him, is the best proof that his judgment was correct. Though Dr. Eddy calls it “low-witted,” the Panoplist said that its satire “was managed with Christian sobriety.” The whole affair and the subsequent controversy of Haynes with Ballou may be examined in the pages of Dr. Cooley’s Sketches of the Life and Character of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, A.M.” New York, 1839.

47. “An Inquiry into the Scriptural Import of the Words Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, and Gehenna, all translated Hell in the common English Version.” Charlestown, 1824, large 8vo. pp. 448. It was issued in several subsequent editions.

48. Boston, 1832, p. v.

49. First edition (from which all subsequent quotations are made), p. v.

50. Ibid., p. 24.

51. Ibid., p. 88.

52. Ibid., p. 110.

53. Ibid., p. 134.

54. We have before us only the second edition: “An Inquiry into the Scriptural Doctrine concerning the Devil and Satan, and into the Extent of Duration expressed by the terms olim, aion, aionios, rendered everlasting, forever, etc., in the common version, and especially when applied to punishment,” etc. Charlestown, 1827. 8vo. pp. 359.

55. The witty Parsons Cooke, in his “Modern Universalism Exposed,” took the pains to count up the discourses of our Lord which are recorded in the Gospel of Matthew and refer to the destruction of Jerusalem according to Balfour, and found that they exceeded by one chapter his entire preaching upon all other subjects. Cooke suggested that the name of the New Testament should be changed to “The Destruction of Jerusalem foretold” as more appropriate to its contents.

56. “Inquiry,” p. 354.

57. “Three Essays on the intermediate State of the dead, the Resurrection from the dead, and on the Greek terms rendered judge, judgment, condemned, condemnation, damned, damnation, etc., in the New Testament,” etc. Charlestown, 1828. 8vo. pp. 359.

58. See p. 205. It is noteworthy that this theory drove Balfour back to the orthodox interpretation of 1 Peter iii. 18 ff. that “the time of the preaching of Christ by the spirit and their disobedience was one and the same time” (p. 45).

59. Works, Vol. v. p. 592 ff.

60. Ibid., p. 598.

61. Ibid., p. 599.

62. Ibid., p. 601.

63. “A Series of Letters addressed to Rev. Hosea Ballou of Boston, being a Vindication of the Doctrine of a Future Retribution against the Principal Arguments used by him, Mr. Balfour and others,” etc. Woodstock, 1827. 8vo. Vol. ii. pp. 308. For a complete review of Mr. Hudson’s literary activity, see Eddy, Vol. ii. p. 321.

64. Eddy, Vol. ii. chap. iv.

65. Series of Letters, p. 167.

66. Three Essays, p. 321.

67. “A Reply to Mr. Balfour’s Essays,” etc. Woodstock, 1829. 12mo. pp.209.

68. Ibid., p. 37 ff.

69. Middletown, 1829. 8vo. pp. 180. It was reviewed in the Christian Examiner, New Series, 3, (1830) p. 392 ff., by a writer who only mentioned the book and then devoted himself to a statement of his own views. According to the Unitarian policy of his day, he is not very explicit. He teaches that we have “the power of forming character for heaven ” (293). The implication of the whole is that the character formed here determines the reward there. There is no proper punishment, for all unhappiness which follows upon wickedness, works itself out. There seems to be no opportunity in the next world to form character (398). He does not state explicitly that there is no opportunity for a change of character in the next world, but seems to hint that the result will be the annihilation of the wicked (399).

70. See, for example, pp. 17, 22.

71. Andover, 1830. 8vo. pp. 156.

72. Ibid., p. 37.

73. Ibid., p. 46.

74. Ibid., p. 57.

75. Ibid., p. 60. On p. 72 ff. Stuart notices the supposition that the meaning [aionios] is “spiritual.” This was a phase of the meaning suggested by Winchester in his “aionian,” and resembles the modern notion that the word is ” qualitative ” rather than quantitive.

76. Ibid., p. 94.

77. Ibid., p. 98.

78. Such are Prov. v. 5; ix. 18; Heb. xxi. 13; Ps. ix. 17; Prov. vii. 27; xv. 24; Num. xvi. 30, 33; Deut. xxxii. 22; I Kings ii. 6, 9; Ps. xlix. 14, 15; Isa. v. 14.

79. Ibid., p. 114.

80. Space forbids us to notice at length the admirable volume of Parsons Cooke of Ware, Mass., “Modern Universalism Exposed: in an Examination of the writings of the Rev. Walter Balfour.” Lowell, 1834. 8vo. pp. 248. The several chapters were originally parish sermons designed to counteract the efforts of the Universalists among his own flock, and were accompanied with success. The work rests largely upon Stuart, but has an independent value of its own, and is another proof of the well-known clearness of mind and cogency of reasoning of its writer. It is marked by the spice of wit and often sarcasm. His exposure of the “credulity” of the followers of Balfour is keen and not without apologetic value. In the same way there grew up a little book by Andrew Royce of Wilmington, Vt., “Universalism a modern Invention, and not according to Godliness.” Windsor, Vt., 1839. l2mo. pp. 207. A. W. McClure (Lectures on Ultra-Universalism. Boston, 1838. 12mo. pp. 126.) fairly laughed Universalism down–a style of argument not always and everywhere fitted for success, but appropriate to the Balfourean type of doctrine.

81. Public discussion between orthodox ministers and Universalists continued to form a feature of the times. See the “Danvers Discussion” between Braman and Thomas Whittemore, which lasted an entire day, an account of which was published by Whittemore in a pamphlet (1833).

82. “Reply to Prof. Stuart’s Exegetical Essays on several Words relating to Future Punishment.” Boston, 1831. 8vo. pp. 238.

83. “Inquiry,” pp. ix, x. Paul Dean was preaching in the same year a “Course of Lectures in Defence of the Final Restoration” (1832, large 8vo. pp. 190) which was much more in the line of the future than Balfour would have supposed.

84. Eddy, Vol. ii. p. 339 ff.

  1. May 29, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I am a Reverend Josiah Spaulding researcher. He is an interesting fellow. Here is an article I wrote about him (among others on this site) :


    It is more about his personal life, but I feel his religious beliefs really shaped how he conducted himself with his family, especially the fact that he kept his only son in a cage. I would be interested in your perspective.

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